The Hepatitis C Cure Poised to "Break the Country"

Gilead's Sovaldi is selling well -- but will this pushback make a difference?

Michael Douglass
Michael Douglass and Dave Williamson
Apr 12, 2014 at 8:05AM
Health Care

Gilead's (NASDAQ:GILD) Sovaldi is reportedly flying off the shelves, but bad press due to pushback from payers, members of Congress, and even the WHO continues to roll in. At issue is the high price of Sovaldi in the U.S. -- $84,000 for a full course of treatment (or roughly $1,000 per day).

As reported by Reuters, Gilead is in talks with Indian generic manufacturers, including perhaps Mylan's (NASDAQ:MYL) Indian subsidiary, to offer Sovaldi at a discount in some international markets, as the U.S. list price is unworkable in a lot of the developing world. Of course, many U.S. payers, including Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX) would argue (and have argued) that the list price is unworkable here too.

The latest bad press comes from Express Scripts, whose CMO Steven Miller stated in no uncertain terms that "What [Gilead's management] have done with this particular drug will break the country." Express Scripts is looking to convince a group of its clients to agree not to use Sovaldi once a competitor drug (expected from AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) in early 2015) comes on the market. Could this trigger a price war between Gilead and AbbVie, especially once other potential competitors come to market?

In this segment from Tuesday's Market Checkup, Motley Fool health care analysts David Williamson and Michael Douglass discuss these developments and consider whether a price war is on the horizon.